High-Pitched Motor Noise

Discussion in 'Hyundai Kona Electric' started by SeanH, Apr 29, 2019.

  1. victor_2019

    victor_2019 Active Member

    when you say that you don't hear it on some days and you hear it on others:

    are you always driving in exactly the same conditions?

    for me to hear the noise, the windows need to be open (I don't hear anything with windows closed) and the noise needs to be reflected back, which means I need to be driving next to parked cars. If I'm not directly next to parked cars, I won't hear it, because what comes back reflected from houses on the road is too low for me to hear. (but perhaps someone with better hearing could still hear it)

    and I'f I'm not on city streets next to parked cars, but instead I'm in a more open space, I won't really hear much.

    and the sound travel does depend on actual atmospheric and environment conditions.

    we live close to an airport and most of the time we hear nothing at all, but on some clear summer nights we hear the noise of the engines during taxying and take-off very very clearly, the difference is quite startling between not hearing anything and suddenly hearing a jet engine spool up as if you were right at the airport. the way the sound travels and how far it travels depends on wind, temperature etc.


    whether these conditions are enough to change the sound of the engine in the car, I can't say...
    BC-Doc and Brennan Raposo like this.
  2. MGrognon

    MGrognon New Member

    I always hear the sound when under 60 kmh or so, even with windows closed and AC on (unless it's on at medium to max). I regularly turn up the radio volume and my SO will ask why I did that and my response is "HISSSSSSSSSS". I then usually get a comment along the lines of "GEEZ, get over it!" :)

    To be fair, I hear it because my brain is likely "looking for it" with windows closed as it's barely noticeable if you have A/C or some music on even at minimum volume which is the case 95% of the time. Regardless of urban/rural setting and whether there is nearby cars, buildings, etc... Of course, as you pointed out if I'm an underground parking lot, it is 300% more obvious ; you can't miss it. Same thing if you are in a narrow street with buildings on both sides and no cars or ambient noises ; you really can't miss it either especially in the 30-55 kmh range (when the VESS is gone and not enough road noise to muffle the hiss yet). But it's always there, just seems to vary in volume (not frequency / pitch) depending on weather and road conditions.
  3. WMA

    WMA New Member

    I've had my Kona since Feb and I have noticed the high pitch metal scraping sound in the last couple of months but that could be because it was cold in Feb and I had the windows up all the time. Can't be sure if the noise was there from the beginning. It is definitely coming from the electric motor because when I switch to Regen 0 and coast the sound disappears. That sound is only when the motor is engaged to accelerate or regen so it can't be from the wheels/brakes/shaft. It sounds similar to when the brake wear indicator starts scraping against the rotors but not as loud. To me it sounds like something that is spinning and metal scraping metal inside the motor. I will keep monitoring it and see if the noise gets louder. Whenever I enter my underground parking I open my windows and turn off the music/fans and it's very noticable since I'm driving beside concrete walls. I can hear the VESS sound + tire noise + regular electric motor noise + the high pitch metal scraping noise. I have my first service coming up so I will mention it to the service tech that it's a common issues with Kona owners and get them to file a report.
    justfortheride likes this.
  4. On the bright side you should be glad you have great hearing. A good audio system is a waste of time for me these days, appreciate it while you can.
  5. SkookumPete

    SkookumPete Well-Known Member

    I haven't any experience of the phenomena discussed here, but have been a student of noise for many years. The sources can be baffling, such as the "hum" endured by some cities. And the sounds themselves may be elusive. A person might hear a constant, irritating sound in some parts of a room but not others. And of course different people have different sensitivities. Life can be hell if you end up living in a place with a whine or hum that you can't not listen to and have no way of stopping. I sympathize with those in a similar plight with their Konas.
    BC-Doc and Brennan Raposo like this.
  6. Brennan Raposo

    Brennan Raposo Well-Known Member Subscriber

    Not at all,
    I have just shy of 19,000km on my Kona which was purchased in February. My hissing/high-pitched noise has gotten far worse. You can easily hear it across a large parking lot when driving between 15-30km/h. Any faster and the road noise drowns it out.

    When in the car, I can now hear it with the windows up and music playing at a normal listening volume.

    As someone mentioned above, it makes driving with the windows down an impossibility. All of this talk about this being “normal” and “how the motor works/is modulated” are completely missing the point. I really don’t give a rats rear end if the sound is “normal”. It wasn’t there (or barely) when I purchased/test drove the car, and now it is. It sounds terrible and should not be present on a 5 month old $60,000 vehicle.

    Whatever technology Hyundai used, needs to be redesigned. The engineers need to go back to the drawing board. A car that sounds like it permanently needs a brake job is NOT ready for the masses in my opinion.

    I personally will not rest until hyundai acknowledges the noise and releases a fix of some sort. If that fix is as simple as insulting the plastic “engine” cover to hide the noise, so be it. I just don’t want to hear it anymore or have friends/family ask why my car is squeaking and it’s brand new.

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  7. BlueSal

    BlueSal Member

    Thanks for the responses folks. The more dialog, the better until Hyundai understands whats going on and develops a fix.

    BTW, if it is an inverter, then I do consider it a safety issue. The Nissan Leaf had some early inverter failures that left people stranded. So what we need is a definite answer from Hyundai.
    Brennan Raposo likes this.
  8. Brennan Raposo

    Brennan Raposo Well-Known Member Subscriber

    Quick update!
    I'm sitting at my local dealership now. Hyundai had brought in a specialist for my car for a different issue. While he was here I asked him if you could take a look (listen) to the high pitched sound. We drove around, him, myself and a tech and both heard exactly what I was referring to. They described it as a Hiss, which I guess is a better description. It's currently being lifted onto a hoist and they're going to take a closer listen to it. He confirmed the sound is coming from the inverter under the engine cover. He was going to do some further investigation.

    Will provide any updates as they come!
    ehatch, AlopeX, SeanH and 3 others like this.
  9. Brennan Raposo

    Brennan Raposo Well-Known Member Subscriber

    So this is a big one ladies and gentlemen!
    I'm not sure if anyone's been following my other thread about a clunking noise when turning in either direction. Well, short recap - I have brought my car to the dealership a few times for that issue. They have replaced parts but unfortunately have not rectified the issue.
    Hyundai sent a specialist engineer in to have a look at the car. They deemed it was likely a wheel bearing and have ordered the complete assembly for replacement - onto the topic at hand!

    I had the engineer have a listen to the hiss noise described in my above post. They put it on the hoist for about an hour and have since let me know that they believe it to be a "low-gear drive unit". The gentleman likened this to the EV's "Transmission" for lack of a better description.
    They went ahead and ordered a replacement from Korea but unfortunately told me that because the units are all being destined for the assembly line - there may be a wait of several months.

    He did warn me that there is NOT a different revision number from my car's part to the new part so there's a very likely chance that the replacement will not resolve the issue. But because I referred him to this forum and it seems that not everyone is having this issue, it seems to be hit or miss. He mentioned that he would also report back to Hyundai and because this is the "first" unit that they've had a look at, they would likely keep my old part once replaced and take it back to Korea for further analysis.

    He absolutely agreed with me that the car should NOT be making that sound and that if it is indeed a faulty part - all units would be recalled and replaced.

    So that's that! Now I wait here patiently for up to two months like the gentleman told me. But this is by far the most positive outcome of this issue to date!
    robxb, XtsKonaTrooper, AlopeX and 9 others like this.
  10. This is super news. Congratulations to you for getting so much attention from Hyundai. How on Earth did you succeed in escalating things to the point you got an engineer and (apparently) corporate involved?
    Brennan Raposo likes this.
  11. I certainly wish the best for any beneficial results but I'm highly skeptical that any defect in the 2-stage gear reduction unit can make any contribution to a hissing noise that by all accounts is electro-mechanical or electromagnetic noise in the top end of the audible range.

    Brennan Raposo likes this.
  12. ehatch

    ehatch Active Member

    Glad you're sharing,plus getting help from the OEM.Having had lemon issues before this Kona,my first Hyundai,ever.I am intrigued that you're getting this active response.Replacing parts to help diagnose,and resolve the issue is unusual.My music's normally loud,and the urban environment I live in so I am now going to try to hear if I have any klunking, or hissing;shutting the VESS off would help;WHY N.Am.didn't get the Europe button to do so:eek: May need to try to drive in circles in a smaller town at night.
    Brennan Raposo likes this.
  13. Esprit1st

    Esprit1st Well-Known Member

    Congrats on getting the attention this issue needs. Although my car doesn't have that issue it should be addressed. No matter what the sound is, it shouldn't be there.

    And it needs attention like that to get resolved.

    And it is so hard for us "little folk" to get the attention. Especially with a lot of dealers that are more concerned about selling us ICE cars.

    So again: thank you for your efforts!!!

    Sent from my moto x4 using Tapatalk
    electriceddy and Brennan Raposo like this.
  14. @ Brennan Raposo
    Must be a big relief having that acknowledgement from Hyundai, so now you can relax and wait as they rebuild your car. Sorry you had to be the first to have to deal with all these issues , hopefully it will provide positive results for you and all of us who may run into similar problems.
    Brennan Raposo and BC-Doc like this.
  15. MGrognon

    MGrognon New Member

    I don't know if this is possible or there is such a thing, but do you have the equivalent of a "case number" from Hyundai that can be used / referenced by people who have the same issue? I feel like this would help a lot in trying to get my local dealership to evaluate / potentially address the issue.

    It's great news to read the above ; hopefully there is a fix possible / coming as to me, other than this the car is close to perfect and I have NO other complaints other than this absolutely annoying hissing sound.
    Brennan Raposo likes this.
  16. JSU

    JSU New Member

    Thank you very much Brennan Raposo for putting in all the time you did to get the mothership to tune into this problem. My car has the hiss sound too which I've only noticed once the weather got warmer and I've been able to roll the windows down. I look forward to hearing more about any action Hyundai may be taking if this is in fact a defective part. Great Work!
    Brennan Raposo likes this.
  17. SeanH

    SeanH Member

    I second this. Furthermore, I would expect mechanical noise to change FREQUENCY with speed. This noise doesn't seem to do that -- if anything, it seems to change AMPLITUDE with speed.
  18. JerContact

    JerContact New Member

    Wow, well at least someone is getting somewhere with this. I've been trying to get ahold of Hyundai for 3 weeks (corporate) to return the car and get my money back. They just won't call me back, super frustrating. I'm going to take this car to another dealership and see if they can help like they did for you @Brennan Raposo . If they do a recall that would be great. It's just really sad to be driving around and hating the way your car sounds. I'm almost about to just lose money and sell it back to the dealership...ugh
  19. Kona Bear

    Kona Bear New Member

    hmmm, that would be why mine didn't go away when i received the new Gear Box (Transmission) sorry i took the only one in the states, at least that is what they told me when it was ordered. i would be interested to see what happens and if something were to change in the near future. glad to hear someone else had an Engineer come down to look at their vehicle. i know after both my Gear Box and Motor were replaced they sent both back to Korea to take a look at as well, hopefully with at least one more on the way this will help them make the needed adjustments to fix and start a recall of some sort.
    robxb likes this.
  20. How many miles on the new motor and gearbox since the "growling" has been resolved?
    Basically fixed a "growl" in exchange for a "hiss", sounds like a circus sideshow

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